sport

Darlan leads hurdle contenders

Ante-post favourite Darlan heads 26 confirmations for the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday afternoon.

Runner-up in last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle before signing off with a win at Aintree, Nicky Henderson's five-year-old will have to carry top-weight in Sunday's prestigious handicap if he takes his chance.

Cash And Go could make his debut for the Henderson yard, having shown smart novice form in Ireland with Edward O'Grady.

With Alan King's Raya Star withdrawn as expected, joining Darlan at the top of the weights is the Philip Hobbs-trained Snap Tie, who made a remarkable return after well over two years off when winning at the Punchestown Festival in April.

Last weekend's Elite Hurdle runner-up Prospect Wells could be turned out quickly by champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who also has Ted Spread and Dark Lover in the mix.

Jonjo O'Neill's It's A Gimme is another major contender, while Charles Byrnes is looking forward to sending Domination on the trip from Ireland.

The five-year-old was last seen running away with a Newmarket handicap and is set for a return to the jumping game this weekend.

"The plan is for him to run. We gave him a break after Newmarket and he seems in good form," said Byrnes.

"He's probably got it all to do in a race like this, but we'll go there hoping for the best.

"We'd like a bit of decent ground for him."

Other interesting entries include David Pipe's Kazlian, last year's runner-up Olofi from the Tom George stable and David Arbuthnot's Starluck.